If you have school-age kids, you've probably gotten that dreaded call. The nice school receptionist is just letting the parents in your kid's class know that one of them was sent home for head lice.
Two words have never instilled panic in a parent quicker than head lice. Rather than freaking out over a critter infestation, explore what you can spray on furniture to kill lice. And while you're writing down your list of lice killers to pick up from the store, learn more about if bleach and Lysol can also work to kill these pesky, itch-inducing menaces.
How to Get Rid of Lice in Your Home
It's every parent's nightmare: head lice. And it seems like once you're infested, you've got no chance of fully getting rid of them. But when a lice infestation hits, the first thing to do is take a breath. Treating the person with head lice and the items they touched are the keys to stopping the infestation. But before you fill your online carts with lice killer, remember the following.
What Kills Lice on Furniture?
While you're throwing your combs in hot water and bedding in the wash, you might wonder what you can use to kill the lice on your bed, carpet, and couch. Before reaching for a regular spray disinfectant, grab your vacuum and lint roller.
According to the CDC, just vacuuming and lint rolling all the areas that the infected person has touched in the last 48 hours is enough to stop the spread. However, if you're looking for a little extra assurance and want to avoid sitting tub-side for a few hours dragging a fine-tooth comb through your kids' scalps, try these commercial and homemade lice killers.
Commercial Cleaners for Killing Lice
You can find tons of commercial lice sprays that kill lice on furniture and bedding online. Many even use non-toxic and natural ingredients safe for children and pets. Two that work especially well are:
- Eco Defense Lice Treatment for Household & Bedding: Eco Defense Lice Treatment for Household and Bedding uses non-toxic ingredients and kills nits, nymphs, and adult louse.
- LiceFreee Home Spray: Licefreee Home Spray uses a non-toxic recipe, including orange peel oil, to kill lice and nits.
Always spot test any new sprays to make sure they won't stain your furniture and fabrics.
Homemade Lice Spray for Furniture
Research has shown that tea tree oil, a natural essential oil, can be effective in killing lice. According to a 2012 study, a 1% tea tree oil mixture will kill lice in 30 minutes.
Materials You'll Need
- Spray bottle
- 10 drops tea tree oil
- 2 cups water
- Lint roller
- Vacuum the area carefully.
- In the spray bottle, combine tea tree oil and water.
- Shake up the mixture.
- Spray down your furniture and carpet.
- Allow it to dry.
- Give the area a final vacuum.
- Roll with a lint roller to get up any remaining lice.
Tea tree oil has a distinct smell that doesn't jibe with everyone. If you're sensitive, just add a few additional essential oils to your mixture to help combat the smell.
Does Bleach Kill Lice?
When an infestation hits, everyone panics. Suddenly it's a Chopped-style race to think of the things around your home to kill those itch-invoking menaces. If you're an avid cleaner, then you've probably got bleach on hand. But it begs the questions of whether you can use bleach to kill lice.
Thankfully, bleach is effective at disinfecting and killing lice. However, you should only use it on fabric and carpet materials that are bleach safe. Don't know how your favorite comforters react to bleach? Check the tag and/or research the material to see if it'll stain. Here's how to use bleach on lice.
Materials You'll Need
- 2 tablespoons bleach
- 2 cups water
- Water bottle
Instructions for Using Bleach to Kill Lice
- In the water bottle, combine the bleach and water.
- After vacuuming, spray a discrete area to test the mixture on your fabric.
- Wait 30 minutes to make sure it doesn't cause discoloration.
- Spray your furniture, beds, and carpets with the mixture after passing the test.
- Let it dry.
- Vacuum and lint roll the area for a final lice-killing measure.
Does Lysol Kill Lice?
Since Lysol is so great at killing germs and disinfecting, you'd think it'd be able to kill a little louse. However, Lysol is ineffective at killing lice on household surfaces. While it might immobilize them for a short period, the active ingredients aren't enough to kill any louse, no matter how small. This is especially true of drug-resistant lice, a type of louse that's fighting back against traditional lice-killing solutions.
Don't Let Lice Turn Your House Into a Horror Movie Set
If you're over the age of 5, you've got a head lice horror story. While head lice aren't particularly dangerous (unless left untreated for weeks), the fact that they root on your scalp and take hours to get out of your hair is enough to strike dread in anything with a pulse. But don't forget to address all the fluffy, fuzzy, and fibrous areas other than hair where lice can linger. Whether it's a commercial spray or a homemade remedy, make sure you attack every nook and cranny with lice killer.